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Today a ‘quiet childcare’ revolution is taking place

Next month, professionals, funders, policy makers and leaders will gather to explore whether Scotland is Keeping The Promise when it comes to Dads.

Ahead of the Seminar, Douglas Guest, Development Manager at the Circle, explores why, despite the advances in the ‘quiet childcare’ revolution, fathers still face an uphill battle in being recognised for their positive role in children’s life.

The Promise is about generational transformational change, it seeks to be bold and ambitious and by 2030 realise a better care system and family support around it.

Being a parent is challenging, possibly the most important and hardest role we ever do. Sometimes we get it wrong, often we do and being a good enough parent is often what we achieve. Add in factors like intergenerational trauma, violence, addiction and poverty and it becomes even more stigmatised and difficult.

Thus, it’s imperative we start asking questions in our organisations, services, communities and families.

  1. what are we doing well for dads?
  2. What’s not working well?
  3. What are the barriers and opportunities to #keepingthepromise?
  4. What do dads need in 2024 and what would we/dads like the promise to achieve by 2030.

Today a ‘quiet childcare’ revolution is taking place. A recent survey (click here to view) of over 1,000 fathers, revealed that more fathers than ever before are prioritising time with their family. Despite increasing financial pressures severely impacting dads work-life balance and family life, 49% of dads with dependent children are now spending more than 25 hours a week playing with their children and supporting their learning, the highest we have ever recorded. For those living in Scotland's most deprived communities (SIMD1) this figure increases to a staggering 64%, a rise of 17% from our 2022 survey.

Men from the most deprived communities face additional public stigma, often portrayed as dangerous or risky, they can face both direct and indirect discrimination. In Professor Anna Tarrant’s 2021 publication ‘Fathering and Poverty’ she notes that “myths of workless, absent and feckless fathers remain largely unchecked and unchallenged and rarely consider the complexities of men’s lives.”  Professor Tarrant concludes that: “Men do not just become ’bad dads’ over time and abandon their children, as broader stereotypes such as ‘absent’ or ‘feckless’ fathers would suggest. They have strong aspirations to be involved in their children’s lives from a young age”. (Click here to visit the Innovation in Fatherhood and Family Research website)

An advisory board on Fathers led by Scottish government and Health Scotland, met for several years and out of this Year of the Dad, more Dad inclusive services and father friendly work policies emerged. Now Dads are now routinely asked about birth trauma and post-natal depression, and some industries are enhancing their paternity leave policies to recruit and retain Dads. Dads are more often seen as assets to be engaged with and dads’ voices are sought for new policies like Child protection guidance by CELCIS recently.

Yet despite their increasing commitment, and evidence that their care is vital for child development, fathers still face an uphill battle to be recognised for the positive role they play in their children’s lives.

That’s why we’re hosting “Keeping the Promise for Dads” in June, bringing together professionals, funders and policy makers to tackle these issues and to ensure dads get the support they need.

Click here to find out more and book your place

About the Author

Douglas Guest is Development Manager - The Promise at Circle

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Keeping the Promise for Dads - Seminar

Join the upcoming seminar to explore what dads need on 12 June.

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Annual Conference 2024

Join us on 29 & 30 May at Scottish Gas Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh

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Participation and engagement work

Find out more about how we embed the inclusion and participation of children and young people in our work

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